Friday, January 22, 2010

Good Luck with That! - Hoppin' John with Spicy Okra, and Brown and Wild Rices

Hoppin' John

Still January. Still time for that good-luck thing - not just for me, but for everyone. I always wish you well and good fortune. Considering, however, my 2010 Blogging To-Do List, I know I'm going to need it. Here's what's coming up, in no particular prioritized nor organized order:

Home Page Design - I've got to face it: I simply cannot operate on all cylinders amidst clutter, not a cluttered mind, desk, nor website. I already starked-up my header, and will be trimming away some non-essential sidebar chaf in the next several weeks. The biggest challenge is the blogroll. It can't go and it can't stay as it is. I've some ideas, but welcome any suggestions on how to tame this beast. The current roster does not accurately reflect the number of sites I enjoy. I've tried to manage this several times over many months. If I list them all in the sidebar, you will be scrolling down through infinity. I swear, your mouse hand will cramp.

FAQs Answered - After almost three years, it's time to disclose a little more about myself than tidbits collected from tags, memes, and my somewhat outdated About page. I constantly juggle reserve against intimacy, and am still not quite sure what that means, considering the scope of the broad and small worlds of the Internet.

Disclosure, Advertising, and PR Policies - All will be included in the FAQs. Up front, I abide by the FTC guidelines for alternative media.

Events - Love them. Despite having created the long-running and still-popular My Legume Love Affair, I miss hosting (having given away more slots than expected to others eager to take on the challenges - it's hard for me to say "no" sometimes). In light of this, I will continue to be in the host rotation for Weekend Herb Blogging, as well as look forward to my inaugural hosting of Presto Pasta Nights. If that ain't enough, I will be announcing a one-off event in the next week or so. It wasn't in the plan, but came to me one recent morning when I'd just lifted my lids.

MLLA - A promise to get my recipes up and out to the guest hosts before the drop-dead, end-of-the-month hour. The Hoppin' John recipe featured in this post is for EC of Simple Indian Food, hosting MLLA 19.

Black-Eyed Peas
Black-eyed peas, dried and at their most beautiful.

Whip it Up Wednesday and No Frills Friday - Two themes which I commenced ages ago and then promptly fell off my planet. As much as I like to write, there are some quick and easy recipes that beg for brevity. You will see them again regularly.

Adopt a Blogger - Now that I've earned my stripes (and bruises), I'm ready to mentor a newbie. More details to follow once the match has been made.

Does My Blog Look Good in This? - I'll be hosting/judging the March edition, so think about what you'll shoot in February to possibly join in the competition.

Reading, 'Riting, and Responding - Given my much wider audience, and that ever-growing blogroll alluded to above, it's become so much harder to keep up with commenting: yours and mine. If you've been around a while, you know what I'm talking about. I'm trying to work out a routine that will manage my time better, but there are still only twenty-four hours in a day...unless you know something that I don't. Please, tell me you do.

Twitter - Resist it as I have, for better or worse, I'm on it. Just.

Recent Memes, Tags, Awards, and Other Assorted Pipeline Kindnesses - I haven't forgotten about any of you. They are written down, to be incorporated into posts. Thanks so much for thinking of me.

More Desserts - Though you wouldn't know it by this blog, I have a savage sweet tooth. There. That's my confession. And I plan to fess up far more often online. It's about succor. We all need it. I know I do.

Vegetarian Hoppin' John with Spicy Okra, and Brown and Wild Rices - My own recipe


1 cup mixed brown and wild rices (any ratio works; take care that all rices chosen have same general cooking time)
2 cups salted vegetable stock
1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
2 cups okra, chopped after trimming stems and tails (If using frozen, do not thaw before using.)
4 tablespoons oil, divided
1 tablespoon Cajun spices (prepared or a mix of black and white peppers, paprika, dried thyme, cayenne, and garlic powder; emphasis on peppers and cayenne)
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used portabellos)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups cooked black-eyed peas
Salt and Black Pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan, combine rices, vegetable stock, and liquid smoke flavoring over medium heat. Once mixture comes to boil, reduce heat to low and cover saucepan. It takes about 50 minutes for these rices to be tender.

In a large oven-proof skillet, warm half the oil over medium heat until thin (no more than 10 seconds), then scatter spices over surface. Add okra to skillet, turning heat up to medium-high. Toss frequently to ensure all surfaces of okra are coated with spices and benefit from direct contact with hot skillet to burn away much of the slime. Keep tossing until okra is mostly dry and burnished with spices. Remove from burner and set aside in a very slow (100 degrees F) oven to keep warm.

In an extra-large skillet, heat remaining half of oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and mushrooms. Sauté until mushroom water content dries and other vegetables are tender-crisp (around 15 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in cooked rice and peas. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Using pot holders or oven mitts, removed okra skillet from oven. (Make sure you turn off oven.) Stir okra into vegetable, rice, and pea mixture. Return skillet to heat on lowest setting just until peas are hot. Adjust once more for salt and pepper. Serves 6. --

Been There, Done That ~
Con Gris
Cannellini Beans, Fennel and Olives

Other People's Eats ~
Chipotle Black-Eyed Peas

Fennel-Scented Black-Eyed Peas and Wild Greens
Che Dau Trang


  1. All the best with you 2010 to do list got Blog. Well, I normally answer or leave comments while I am drinking my morning coffee, you can try that too and see if it works for you. And this a beautiful recipe with lovely and healthy ingredients (okra is my fav!)and who doesn't find succor with desserts dear, its a "we know it all" fess!

  2. Your 'one pot rice' looks healthy and delicious. Love the earthy flavours and colours. All the best for your 2010 blog resolutions ^_^

  3. I have to look up this hopping John - he looks handsome!

    I don't know what to do about my blog list either, it's not at all representative of what I read, I read blogs through Reader, aggregators, etc - I guess for now it will go on sluggishly. I have removed a few inactive blogs or blogs that have ceased to really interest me - either because of the kind of food they carry or because of content, but I can't say I've done that to each and every link, it's just a question of setting some time apart for all these tasks.

    As for replying to comments, I had let that slide a bit, but not deliberately. I'm making an effort to remedy that.

    Best of luck with your intentions and resolutions.

  4. I have heard that if you properly multitask, you add hours to the day. This is why I listen to books and scrapbook at the same time! :grin:

  5. Alas, it's a challenge to live with only 24 hours in a day. I sooo get that! I always find it a wonder when anyone shows up on my blog and comments. How do these people find the time?

    Love your dish - I'm always looking for great vegetarian meals, as I've decided to eat lower on the food chain for at least 3 days of the week.

    May 2010 be your best, healthiest, most productive and most centered year yet, Susan.

  6. I have yet to try okra: not sure what it will take to get me to try it, since the recipes you've posted that include it all look great. I have moved my blogroll to a separate page ith a link to it from the homepage: not ideal, but it looks better, I think.

  7. Oh dear, you have way too many commitments Susan, I will now appreciate your visits more than I already do. Your banner looks great and i appreciate the need to clear the decks occasionally. How about a drop down list for your blogroll, with different catergories, a bit like the one I use for my recipe index? It would be tidier and take up less space.

  8. All the best for your 2010 blog resolutions. This" one pot rice" dish looks beautiful, healthy and delicious.

  9. The dish looks lovely!!! Very unique combination!

  10. That is an impressive to do list - the banner looks lovely - and I look forward to all your events - I understand how it is hard to keep up sometimes despite the best of intentions

    re the blogroll - there are a few ideas I have seen - 1. have a separate page for your blogroll, 2. drop down lists, 3 this blog has a random short list that can be expanded -

    Good luck with all your changes and challenges - it all sounds very exciting!

  11. Nice to read about the to do list..hope u achieve all of them..the dish looks wonderful too..thanks for participating